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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Warthen, Barnes are a two-headed monster for UA

Entering the season, one of the biggest question marks for the Arizona women’s basketball team was who would become Davellyn Whyte’s wingwoman.

Whyte will likely produce at the same — if not better — rate as she has throughout her career alongside graduated forward Ify Ibekwe. She’s good for about 16 points, five rebounds and three assists a night.

That’s a given.

But the biggest concern at the outset of the season is who else could help replace Ibekwe’s scoring and rebounding abilities.

This early on, it appears that it won’t be one person filling that role. It will be a two-headed monster, with guard Candice Warthen’s scoring prowess with forward Erica Barnes’ ability to rebound and score in the post.

The Wildcats have only played two regular season games and two exhibition games so far, but the two sophomores’ performances have shown that maybe replacing their former star won’t be as difficult as originally thought.

After scoring 13 points in a season-opening win against Georgia Southern, Warthen exploded to the tune of 36 points, on 11-of-18 shooting (5 for 8 from 3-point range), in a 79-66 win over Georgia State on Sunday. With Whyte getting into early foul trouble and only playing six minutes in the first half, Arizona needed someone to step up. That’s exactly what the 5-foot-5 guard did.

Barnes got herself off to a great start with two double-doubles to open the season. Against Georgia Southern, Barnes grabbed 10 rebounds to go along with her 11 points. In the win against Georgia State, she had 12 points and 11 boards. Of her 21 rebounds in the two games, nine were offensive.

Warthen and Barnes are producing at surprisingly high levels, albeit against lesser opponents. Despite that, things are looking bright for the Wildcats moving forward, and if the two sophomores keep up that sort of production, Arizona just might have a shot at a NCAA tournament berth.

— Zack Rosenblatt is a junior studying journalism and Italian. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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